How to Tap Into Your Readers' Pain Points
Like Shiatsu massage, it pays to dig down into your readers' pain points. It's your empathy and understanding of what your readers are going through that allow you to alleviate and offer solutions to their struggles.
If you don't know what they're experiencing, and wherein they're hurting or suffering, then you're missing out on one of the biggest keys to growing your blog.
You see, when you take a common problem in your niche, and write an article showing your readers how to fix it, it will be shared over and over again for years to come. Do it every week and you have the makings of an extremely profitable blog.
There are essentially three ways of finding pain points to write about.
1. Your own experience.
Whenever you run into obstacles and difficulties in your niche, jot them down in your idea notebook and then go to work figuring out how to solve them or make them easier to manage. Because if you're experiencing it, then it's likely many of your readers are experiencing it too.
This underscores the importance of being not just a leader, teacher, or coach but an active participant in your area of expertise. If your blog is about baking, then you should be baking every day. It's the only way to have true empathy for your readers and experience the same frustrations and failures as they do.
2. Your readers.
Once you've had a blog for a number of years, your readers will contact you with questions that you can then turn into blog posts. They'll email you or leave them in the comment section of your blog unsolicited. Nowadays, for me, most of my ideas come from this one source.
In the beginning, however, when you don't have many readers, it's a good idea to just ask them. Add a PS to the bottom of your posts requesting topics they'd like you to cover. You can also use your contact page for this purpose.
3. Your colleagues.
If you're blogging about your profession, then be sure to keep your ear close to the ground. People love to grumble about work. I've found this to be a tremendous source of timely blog topics. You can also ask your colleagues what their five biggest work obstacles are.
If you're blogging about a hobby, then spending time in chat rooms or on Reddit can be especially helpful - as can attending conferences and events. You can post questions related to your niche or scroll through the current most popular topics. You can even find some solutions you can then tweak and shape into an article specific to your audience.
Timely is Best
Utilizing just these three sources should give you more blogging topics than you'll ever need. As for how to choose what to write about, never pass on an opportunity to cover something currently in the news or on the minds of your readers.
Covering timely articles first gives them the greatest potential to go viral. For example, writing about summer travel destinations in March or April will give you far more traffic than posting the article in August when people are looking forward to fall.
As you're looking through your idea notebook, if none of your topics fall into the category of current events, then I recommend writing about what inspires you in the moment. Inspiration will always resonate deeper with your readers than topics you feel obligated to cover.